I’m a people person, but I’m going to admit that I am TERRIBLE at planning parties.
Case in point?
My 21st birthday was a complete and utter flop. Not because I didn’t have friends (be nice, please), but because I didn’t possess organisational skills at that age, nor any awareness beyond the tip of my nose.
So how was it so poorly organised?
For starters, I was the only vegan in my neighbourhood back in 2009. Today it’s the social statement du jour, but back then, I was a social pariah.
And when kids rocked up at my party expecting party pies and they were greeted with falafel, let me tell you: they were NOT happy.
On top of that, it was the middle of winter. I decided it’d be A GREAT IDEA to have the party in my back yard.
No heaters. “Just drink!” I would say.
And also? The theme was cirque du soleil, which no one had seen. I just wanted to look cute in tights, but it didn’t catch on.
I had no idea how to cater to the needs of my guests because I was much more interested in boozing it up on a strange combination of passion pop and beans.
It might surprise you to hear that your birthday is more about your guests and free booze than it is about celebrating the miracle of life.
But I didn’t know that. I thought it was all about ME.
And my friends did not.
The lesson? Don’t let your website be the party no one wants to be at.
I don’t hark back to my days of binge drinking for no reason – we’re here to talk about your website.
Are you attracting website traffic, but your users aren’t sticking around?
I feel you. You thought your website was all about you.
And now, it’s time to make sure people are sticking around.
5 ways to improve your bounce rate and improve on-page time
Before we begin, let’s go through some key Google Analytics jargon.
When we talk about ensuring people stay on your website, we talk about improving a few key metrics.
What is a bounce rate?
A very apt description of the amount of people who literally come to your website, and then leave within a few seconds.
An average bounce rate depends on your industry and type of website (landing page, blog, ecommerce), but a good percentage to go for is 50%. That’s half of your visitors leaving, and half staying.
What is average session duration?
How long a user spends on your website, measured in minutes and seconds.
Again, an average benchmark depends on the kind of purpose behind your website (is it a blog, a landing page or click funnel?).
What is pages/session?
You want people to be clicking through to other parts of your website, so the more pages, the better!
When you go to your Google Analytics dashboard, you can easily find these metrics when you to Audience > Overview.
Here's a snapshot from my GA dashboard for the March 28 2018 - June 28 2018 period.
There’s no real golden rule for the best bounce rate, as it depends on the industry you’re in.
To get an idea of the variations in bounce rate, check out this graph created by ITX Design showing the average bounce rate for various industry web pages.
My bounce rate is horrible! What do I do?
Improving your bounce rate doesn’t have to be a difficult or creative task.
In fact, a few basic changes can make a huge difference.
1. Break up large chunks of content with sub headings, videos and images.
I love to read, so it pains me to say that the majority of people…don’t.
When people are searching for your website online, they want to be able to find what they’re looking for, and fast.
By using headings and subheadings, you’re able to highlight key paragraphs and divide your information into digestible chunks. This makes it easier to read, and is less of an eyesore for users.
As for including videos and images, this should serve a purpose, so don’t just throw them in there for no reason. They should tell a story and be 100% on brand.
2. Make more internal links
You really want people to be going from your home page to other pages of your website, and internal linking is how you get them there.
You can do this by linking to other blog posts on a similar topic, or by mentioning your services. Notice how I do this all time?
3. Ask them to subscribe to your email newsletter
Someone might not be ready to purchase from you once they’ve scrolled to the end of your home page. So how do you keep them engaged? You hook them in with a compelling offer, and collect their email address.
Creating subscriber-only content is an effective way of doing this. Think: email course, cheat sheets, eBooks and quizzes.
4. Check your page speed or server
Something you never want to see in Google Analytics is 00:00 time spent on website. This could indicate your website isn’t loading due to server issues.
You can check your website speeding in Google Analytics, by clicking on Behaviour > Site Speed > Overview.
Here's a screenshot from my dashboard.
As you can see in the image above, there’s a spike on April 4, which indicates something was making my website slower than usual.
This data doesn’t give you any information about benchmarks or what you can improve, so I recommend using PageSpeed Insights instead.
I like PageSpeed Insights because it gives your website a grade, and then provides recommendations on what you can do to fix up the speed.
One of the top ways you increase your website speed is to make sure a user’s browser “remembers” your website. This means that instead of having to download everything on your website every time a user comes back, their browser will pull all of your resources internally, speeding up the page load time.
We call this browser caching, and it’s easy to set up in your back end. The process will depend on the CMS you use. And unless you’re experienced with tinkering around with code, I recommend you get a professional to do this for you.
5. Make sure your content aligns with your ads
Remember when Facebook began to bear down on Click Bait headlines?
It was because of a surge in user complaints that these articles and ads didn’t actually link to what they said they would.
I’m going to assume this isn’t intentional on your end, but it might surprise you to hear that it can be easy to unintentionally deceive people.
For example, if your sponsored Instagram post mentions a flash sale, make sure it actually links to that section of your website.
If you say you’re offering a solution, actually deliver on this.
Improving your website’s bounce rate and other metrics will do more than improve your user experience – it will also improve your business. Want to make your website your never sleeping sales person?